Why Not?

Wednesday Oct 22, 2008

...a kind of click hungry hippopotamus in a tutu...

Surely a contender for the best line of all time in a tech review? Paul Murphy compares MacOS, Linux (SuSE Enterprise Desktop version) and Windows Vista in this ZDnet article, and in process makes a couple of excellent points about the options available for your desktop OS. I couldn't help but feel that a different flavour of Linux may have caused his recommendations to become one, but the comment "a kind of click hungry hippopotamus in a tutu" really covers off one of the contenders!

Anyone wanting to contribute drawings of a click hungry hippopotamus in a tutu I think I can guarantee some fame if not any fortune. I'll definitely start a gallery...

A kind of click hungry hippopotamus in a tutu. Couldn't resist saying it one more time :)

Thursday Feb 28, 2008


No, I've not a closet baseball follower, a fan of a certain New England team; nor am I a follower of any of the bands of that name; and do I not have a predilection for ensuring my frozen desserts remain cold in a stylish, colour-matched way; no, I'm afraid nothing so "cool"...

SOX is "Save Our XP", a campaign by InfoWorld to ensure Windows XP continues to be available after the impending deadline of June 30. As there are no sound commercial reasons for them to stop, and it seems deeply inappropriate for the supplier to be forcing the customer to make high impact changes to their business for zero gain to anyone. Except Microsoft, of course. Join the 96,424 people (as of Feb. 25) who have signed InfoWorld's petition to demand that Microsoft not stop OEM and shrinkwrapped sales of Windows XP as planned on June 30, 2008, but instead keep it available indefinitely. Go on, go sign!

Wednesday Jan 02, 2008

OOXML for preservation of older files? Not on your nelly...

If you intend to use Microsoft's proposed pseudo-standard, OOOXML (Office Open XML), as a method of preserving older documents, move fast or be prepared for security problems and complicated workarounds... As of service pack 3, Microsoft Office 2003 will no longer be able to open some of the older file types "for security reasons".

Given that MS Office is one of the only pieces of software that can write OOXML (and even then not the proposed standardised version!), this immediately removes the main justification of OOXML standardisation or adoption, leaving only ODF (ISO 26300) as a sensible preservation and long term access solution. Given further that some poor misguided, PR believing, organisations will have already committed to this Microsoft OOXML path and by definition will tend to be those organisations with least access to competent technical guidance, it is likely to result in a number of older documents being effectively lost in the digital wilderness.

In the immortal words of Jar Jar Binks: how wude!

Tuesday Dec 18, 2007

Making sure a standard is open

The easy way, courtesy of Rob Weir:

The Right and Lawful Rood

The posting, for those who can't face clicking through, discusses a Medieval method for defining units of measurement, in particular the rood (rod) and foot, by using a public statistical derivation of 16 men from the church service lining up left foot to left foot (the rood) and then dividing the result by 16 (the foot).

Presumably the Microsoft version of this standard method of determining would require using one of the larger Microsoft offices rather than a church. This would allow the resulting unit of measurement to be varied by their marketing and legal departments as necessary by controlling who comes out to form the line. Need a foot to be on the short side today? Send out all the most petite women you can find, preferably barefoot; need it to be on the long side? All the guys who shop at High and Mighty wearing steel toe-capped farmers boots. Need the measurement to look particularly open one day? Keep the marketing and legal teams out of sight...

Top 15 of 2007

Hot on the heels of sports personality of the year, footballer of the year and best 16th of December of the year. here's another countdown. But rather than best, this is PC World's list of the most disappointing products of 2007. No surprises at number 1, but after a year of being sued again and again and then losing their final appeal on the EU's case (that'll be $500m, please), getting not just number one but two other key products into the list, Microsoft have to be hurting:

The 15 Biggest Tech Disappointments of 2007

NB This is the magazine, not the high street retailer, who recently said much the opposite about the number one product in PC World's (the magazine) list. But then they would, wouldn't they?

Wednesday Nov 21, 2007

Sometimes it's nice to know that you're not alone...

Not out on a limb, or heading up the creek, just on the leading edge. An recently published article shows a large proportion of organisations are looking to switch away from Windows.

Actually indications are that many organisations outside of the UK and US are already going there. For some reason the UK and US are lagging behind this technology adoption curve. Any suggestions why?

Thursday Nov 08, 2007

OLPC ships...

Will the OLPA follow? Who knows, but it's interesting to see this ambitious project start mass production. Much of the technology is highly innovative and will inform mainstream laptop design to the benefit of all. See the news here.

Friday Nov 02, 2007

Ho ho ho... The BBC strike again

So this is a good one... The BBC's head of technology, Ashley Highfield, in making excuses for the Windows XP/Vista only iPlayer, claims that only 400-600 people access the BBC website using Linux. Really. How odd. Now either (a) Mr Highfield doesn't know how to read a log file, and/or (b) needs a better logfile analyser or (c) is talking rubbish. Because despite other issues, the BBC remains a major source of quality news, and at least one major Linux distribution has Firefox pre-configured with the BBC "live bookmarks" in the bookmarks toolbar; ergo it seems far more likely that tens of thousands of BBC visitors are visiting the site.

A little supporting evidence for my counter-claim comes from this petition:


which at time of writing had 459 signatures...

---- Update ----

The nice man from the BBC has now conceded there might be 30,000 Linux users visiting the website. Still seems a low estimate to me, but nevermind. If it is a correct figure then if they are all licence fee payers that's the best part of £3,000,000 in licence fees. So, either supply a standards compliant iPlayer or give us the money back...

Friday Oct 12, 2007

Oh, now that's interesting...

Well to me anyway, and presumably our FD as he sent me a link to the first article I saw on the subject; Mozilla are developing a full-featured browser for mobile platform(s). Firefox for mobiles? Hmmm. I like. If it's going to run on the OLPC or Neo (OpenMoko) platforms, then it is very, very interesting.

I'll try to get some more info and post more later...

Wednesday Sep 19, 2007

And once they complained about people trying to railroad the standards process...

Hot on the heels of my last post comes this excellent blog article:


So it is wrong for one company to try "to serve as the submitter of an international standard" and "that this approach offered unfair market advantage"? Thanks for the lesson, that's what we been telling you...

Thursday Jul 12, 2007

Some help for software we ain't got yet...

Well, some people are already using it inside the company, and many more will be in a few weeks, so it's not as silly as it sounds! And of course many others worldwide might find this helpful too

So, we are upgrading to Zimbra for our email and collaboration solution (from Microsoft Exchange 2003). We will collect some tips and tricks to help people make the best use of it, maybe in a wiki page or a shared blog (any suggestions which would be best?) For now,go see the Zimbra powertips blog. Is enough to get you started!

Tuesday May 08, 2007

Green computers?

Not as in colour but as in environment - a roundup of OA's IT reduced environmental impact. Green computers is definitely possible.

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